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Swedish Study Finds Cell Phone Cancer Risk

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the i-call-my-tumor-tummy dept.

282

dtjohnson writes "A new Swedish study has found that heavy users of cell phones had a 240 percent increase in brain tumors on the side of their head that the phone was used on. The study defined 'heavy' use as more than 2,000 total hours, or approximately one hour of use per workday for 10 years. An earlier British study was previously discussed here that didn't find an increased risk, although that study covered fewer subjects and only followed one type of brain tumor for a shorter period of time. Or course, the biggest epidemiological study of all is the one we are all participating in whenever we use our cell phone. The results from that study won't be available for a while."

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News? (1, Interesting)

eMartin (210973) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044610)

Um... Didn't we know this like 20 years ago?

Re:News? (3, Insightful)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044615)

Don't know if you're joking or not, but even in the summary it is mentioned the British article which goes against this, so no, we didn't "know" this 20 years ago. Hell, we still don't KNOW that it causes tumours either. What's significant about this study is the timespan of it.

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044626)

And that it's a completely unscientific telephone survey, much like a slashdot poll. It may be correct, cel phones may cause tumors, but garbage science like this makes it easy to decide not to waste further tax money on such studies.

Re:News? (0)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044652)

Certainly. The article is either horribly misleading or the study was incredibly poor. Calling a bunch of people and have them say how much they've used a cell phone over the past 10 - 20 years and then conclude it's the phone's fault if they have had or have brain tumour? Seriously..

Re:News? (2, Insightful)

mOOzilla (962027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044690)

We have known this since World War 2 and the development of RADAR. Open your eyes fool.

Re:News? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044828)

And what about the another one [bbc.co.uk] ?

Maybe you ignore studies not confirming what you known since WWII. If you really know... what frequencies cause cancer? how much emitted power is needed? can you quantify the risk in percentage?

This study is a piece of shit. A group of scientists trying to appear in TV, no more.

Re:News? (1, Troll)

mOOzilla (962027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044838)

Mobile companies have a conflict of interest, they MAKE MONEY from the MOBILE PHONE SERVICES so it is NOT in their best interest to admit to Cancer. If you look anywhere you can make up a story to be pro or against the cause. You ask for stastics, you can manipulate them anyway you want again to be pro and against. Go troll somewhere else.

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044924)

Mobile companies have a conflict of interest, they MAKE MONEY from the MOBILE PHONE SERVICES so it is NOT in their best interest to admit to Cancer

This is a fallacy. Their interest doesn't counter their reasons. Give me data please, maked up as a bitch if you want.

You ask for stastics, you can manipulate them anyway you want again to be pro and against

Yes, I ask for data, and you don't give me any. That's why I think than you are believing in this study in a religious way.

Go troll somewhere else.

In real life, do you call also troll to people that doesn't think like you?

I knew this 3 days ago... from TV (0, Flamebait)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044638)

When slashdot is 3 days behind mainstream TV, thats when its just going totally to pot.

3 day old news is not news.

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044642)

Sure we knew this. Ok, so cell phone did not yet exist, but that's besides the point.

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044762)

cell phone did not yet exist, but that's besides the point.

Huh? Cell phones were introduced in 1983. That's more than 20 years ago. Other types of radio phone have an even longer history.

Re:News? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044721)

Well, this issue reminds me of global warming. Is it caused by humans or is it natural? And by how much?

Let's just say that these are complex issues and there are a lot of scientific opinions and interests in play.

At least, the surgeon general isn't recommending the use of cell phones for health reasons, like in the old days of cigarettes.

Brain Cancer... (0, Offtopic)

What the Frag (951841) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044617)

OMG!!! Ponies!!!

oh wait.. that was eye cancer

Assumptions (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044619)

Kjell Mild, who led the study, said the figures meant that heavy users of mobile phones, for instance of who make mobile phone calls for 2,000 hours or more in their life, had a 240 percent increased risk for a malignant tumor on the side of the head the phone is used.
"The way to get the risk down is to use hands-free," he told Reuters.

How does he know that? Did his study make that conclusion? The article doesn't say anything about use of hands free kits beyond that statement.

I think Mr Mild is making assumptions about the reason for the apparent 240% increase, and factors which he thinks may be important.

Re:Assumptions (1)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044635)

Well, what is identified as the main reason behind tumours is the radiation that comes from the antenna of the cell phone. Using a hands-free set makes sure that the antenna is far away from your head. Now, having it in your front pocket ...

Re:Assumptions (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044659)

There is another study that says that the handsfree cord simply acts as a parasitic radiataor and offers only marginal protection.

Re:Assumptions (1)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044662)

Do you have a link to this study? It would be interesting to read, seriously, I'm not trying to be an ass.

Re:Assumptions (3, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044718)

Well, what is identified as the main reason behind tumours is the radiation that comes from the antenna of the cell phone.

TFA doesn't say that except with reference to a British study.

Using a hands-free set makes sure that the antenna is far away from your head.

Some phones put so much RF into the hands free kit that radiation exposure is worse on hands free. It would be even worse if you leave the earpiece in between calls.

Re:Assumptions (1)

maarten_delft (66069) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044914)

Some phones put so much RF into the hands free kit that radiation exposure is worse on hands free. It would be even worse if you leave the earpiece in between calls.

I think if you use a bluetooth headset if your phone supports it, you will have solved that problem. And in the car you can use a proper carkit connected to the stereo instead of wired earphones. My next phone will have to have built-in handsfree calling.

These are simple things that can effectively move the antenna away from your brain so it gets less exposure.

Re:Assumptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044657)

"I think Mr Mild is..."

Uh, isn't it *you* making assumptions witout RTFA's study?

All Balls, no Brains. (2, Funny)

twitter (104583) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044694)

"The way to get the risk down is to use hands-free," he told Reuters.

Now we need a study on testicular cancer. They are sensitive, you know. Handedness might not matter as much there, but it can make you blind.

Re:Assumptions (2, Interesting)

erkulikondrio (911578) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044839)

"The way to get the risk down is to use hands-free," he told Reuters.

And if I use SMS ?

suprised? (2)

xamomike (831092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044623)

There's got to be some long term damage to putting a radio transmitter which radiates electromagnetic energy right beside your head. I do mean *long term* damage, the only people that really have to worry are yappy pre-pubescent teenage girls, and we have too many of them anyways.

Re:suprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044671)

You are constantly exposed to "electromagnetic energy" (what you mean is electromagnetic radiation, but whatever). The energy of the photons radiated by a cell phone is LESS THAN THAT OF THE PHOTONS IN VISIBLE LIGHT (and yes, this is "electromagnetic energy" in exactly the same sense as you undoubtedly intended in your post). Electrons and nucleons in atoms do not interact with photons below a certain threshold energy (dependent on the atom). Photons in the ultraviolet range are required in order to ionize atoms (ie. seperate an electron from an atom), which is the sort of thing that can cause cancer directly.

Now, there is another study with some results that indicate that being exposed to light while you are sleeping can increase the risk of breast cancer. But the explanation there is that the body has an autonomic response to light while you're sleeping that interrupts the production of a certain chemical. There would need to be a similar explanation for cancer caused by cell phones, and it would need to take into account the fact that everyone is exposed to much more intense emissions in similar photon energy ranges from other sources constantly (the power radiated by a cell phone is extremely small relative to that from many other sources).

Re:suprised? (5, Insightful)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044673)

"There's got to be some long term damage to putting a radio transmitter which radiates electromagnetic energy right beside your head."

Why? As has been repeated ad nauseam whenever this debate comes about, the frequencies used by cell phones are non-activating. If holding a tiny, low-power transmitter next to your head causes cancer, then people who work at TV and FM stations should be dropping like flies.

All we know at this point (assuming the study's methodolgy holds water) is that there is a correlation between cell phone use and brain tumors. It could mean that cell phones cause brain tumors, it could mean that people prone to brain tumors talk on the phone a lot.

And even if it is eventually shown that cell phones cause brain tumors, that still doesn't necessarily mean it is the radio transciever aspect of the phone that is the culprit. It very well may be exposure to toxic chemicals used in the displays or the batteries, for example, much the same way toxic pesticides used around electrical pylons had people thinking high-voltage lines caused cancer.

Re:suprised? (3, Interesting)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044724)

And how would you explain that the tumors were more likely to be located on the side of the head closest to where the user would put the phone?

Re:suprised? (1, Insightful)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044765)

And how would you explain that the tumors were more likely to be located on the side of the head closest to where the user would put the phone?

"It very well may be exposure to toxic chemicals used in the displays or the batteries..."


That's how.

Re:suprised? (2, Interesting)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044788)

people who work at TV and FM stations should be dropping like flies.

Except that they don't go nea the antenna (or they would be cooked), and thee is such a thing as the invese squae law.

Howeve, if the study coves 20 yeas, then it coves the time when cellphones put out a steady 4 watts. Now they can pehaps peak at that, but now they use adaptive power levels, the average power level while transmitting is generally below 100mW, and often below 4mW.However, the power from a domestic light bulb in that band is? and the SUn's radiation is massively greeater

In simple terms,

a)if it covers 20 years, its not relevant to today's phones.

b)FM radio is not relevant at all

c)If today's phones are a risk, then they are less of a risk than having incandescent light bulbs in your home, or being exposed to sunlight and that does not appear to kill anyone.

Re:suprised? (2, Insightful)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044937)

However, the power from a domestic light bulb in that band is? and the SUn's radiation is massively greeater
Can you provide some references for the claims you're making here (that incandescent light bulbs and the sun both output significant amounts of radiation on the same frequencies as cell phones)? It's seems unlikely - neither cause obvious interferrence with cell phones, which I'd expect if the power levels are remotely similar.

Re:suprised? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044730)

...the only people that really have to worry are yappy pre-pubescent teenage girls, and we have too many of them anyways.

Thank heaven for little girls
for little girls get bigger every day!

Thank heaven for little girls
they grow up in the most delightful way!

Those little eyes so helpless and appealing
one day will flash and send you crashin' thru the ceilin'

Thank heaven for little girls
thank heaven for them all,
no matter where no matter who
for without them, what would little boys do?

Thank heaven... thank heaven...
Thank heaven for little girls!

I'm sure I can ignore it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044624)

because this is clearly an April fool's joke.

No it is not a joke (0)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044689)

No it was not meant to be a joke. You may die from mobile phones, using them too much. Take it seriously. :|

Not really (4, Insightful)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044625)

Or course, the biggest epidemiological study of all is the one we are all participating in whenever we use our cell phone. The results from that study won't be available for a while.

Not really. The metering is lousy. The control group is corrupted. Heck, the technology is changing, so the signals are different. As a study, the world at large makes a lousy experiment for this.

Re:Not really (2, Insightful)

LucidBeast (601749) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044954)

... and you forgot: those who don't answer the phone in fear of radiation get killed off by their spouses when they get home by night.

They still never answered my question (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044627)

Will I get eye cancer from using my computer so darn much?

but it can't be (0)

idlake (850372) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044628)

<sarcasm>Physicists say it can't be, so it cell phones must be safe, right? After all, cell phone radiation is non-ionizing, therefore it couldn't possibly alter DNA and physicists have determined (based on some unstated first principles that non-physicists just aren't smart enough to understand) that the only way EM radiation can damage cells is through smashing DNA, cell phones must be perfectly safe. Therefore, this study, like the ones preceding it, must be wrong. Right.</sarcasm>

Re:but it can't be (2, Funny)

pmj (527674) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044634)

You sound awfully bitter, did you fail physics in university or something? :)

Re:but it can't be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044691)

Read "The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Volume II."

If you don't understand the physics involved here, it is because you choose not to.

Re:but it can't be (5, Insightful)

agentcdog (885108) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044695)

Actually, that is right. But you can understand if you study a little. Which is a more controlled study, particle physics experiments or experiments done on groups of people? It's a no-brainer. Years ago they tried to scare us about power lines, only to find out the guy fudged [ncpa.org] his data. So 100's of studies say no, and one more crackpot says "Hey... here's a link!!" and now we should all start running. The nice thing about science is the results are repeatable; I can go check for myself. I have checked e-m radiation theory and it checks out.

Sarcasm makes a poor argument, try reason and fact (2, Informative)

twitter (104583) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044771)

Yes, I'm a physicists and I resemble your comment.

You could do better. You might have something if you point to the known link between cancer and chronic irritation and then prove cellphones irritate nerve tissue. There should also be a rise in auditory canal and skin cancer of the ear at that rate, not to mention head and neck cancers. Hell, you might even score some points if you cited the 85 heavy cell phone users of 905 brain case numbers and told us, which the article fails to explain, how that's 240% higher than the general population. But some other smart ass would tell you you could prove anything with such tiny numbers. Both of you might ignore everyone's advice and take a smoke break.

What would you like to know about ionizing radiation [wikipedia.org] or radio biology [wikipedia.org] ? The general principals are not difficult, but as you noted are not related to microwaves. Everyone wants you to know the causes of cancer [nih.gov] but here's the short and sweet:

except for the increase in cancers caused by smoking, and a remarkable decrease in stomach cancer, the incidence of the most common cancers for individuals of a given age has not changed very much during the course of the twentieth century figure [nih.gov]

Cell phone, schmell phone. It might be true, but I'm not going to give up my cell phone.

If people quit smoking other relations would be easier to spot, so cut it out already! You are killing me.

dangerous use of statistics (5, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044630)

This article is poor (I would say unethical) coverage of a scientific study.

For example, to say something is associate with a 240% increase in risk can be technically accurate, but horribly misleading to most readers. If one in a billion people get a disease, a 240% increase makes your chance of getting it 2.4/1000000000. That is absolutely nothing to worry about.

Also, with this studay, they found out people who had tumors, then asked them if they used cell phones. The subjects probably had no doubt as to why this question was being asked, therefore this was not really a double blind experiment.

Has anyone ever been able to give a rat cancer by blasting it with amplified cellphone-type radiation? That would convince me of the possibility of cell phone risk much more than digging backward through statistical inormation does.

Re:dangerous use of statistics (3, Funny)

xamomike (831092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044658)

"Has anyone ever been able to give a rat cancer by blasting it with amplified cellphone-type radiation?" can't say I've ever blasted rats with cellphone radiation, but you should see what a microwave does to them!

Re:dangerous use of statistics (1)

idlake (850372) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044664)

For example, to say something is associate with a 240% increase in risk can be technically accurate, but horribly misleading to most readers.

I think the problem there is with "most readers", not with an accurate statement of the risk increase. Furthermore, the absolute numbers are stated in the article, and knowing the population of Sweden, it's easy to compute the absolute risk.

Has anyone ever been able to give a rat cancer by blasting it with amplified cellphone-type radiation? That would convince me of the possibility of cell phone risk much more than digging backward through statistical inormation does.

In addition to heating, microwaves appear to induce measurable changes in cells in tissue culture.

Doing the direct experiment would be a massive undertaking: if it takes 10 million human brains irradiated over 20 years to induce an extra 50 tumors, you'd need a lot of rats for a measurable effect. And you can't just up the radiation dose because then you cook the brains.

Re:dangerous use of statistics (5, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044676)

If the incidence is so low that you can't do a study to demonstrate it properly then we've got FAR more important things to worry about. I bet your increased risk of getting hit by a bus because you're talking on your stupid phone instead of paying attention is more significant.

public health (0)

idlake (850372) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044931)

These studies aren't mainly for individuals, they are conducted for making public health decisions and regulating wireless devices. And for public health, doubling brain cancer rates would be a big deal.

Re:dangerous use of statistics (3, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044666)

Another problem with a lot of these studies is that they use the other side of the brain as a control. You're supposed to get tumors more often on the side of your head you use the phone on. How consistent are people always using it on the same side?

Not to mention I suspect the people who used cell phones extensively twenty years ago are probably a very special group... probably with all kinds of interesting common factors.

Re:dangerous use of statistics (1)

Troed (102527) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044735)

Yes [iinet.net.au] (English translation of a Swedish article)

Microwaves open up the Blood Brain Barrier.

[---]

This rat brain has been exposed to microwave fields similar to those from a mobile phone handset. The dark spots are albumen that has come into the brain through the blood-brain-barrier opened by the radiation.

a sobering confirmation... (1)

themysteryman73 (771100) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044632)

I've heard some people saying things about this before, but I've always disregarded it because it was never confirmed. This confirmation is quite sobering, to me. Fortunately I don't use my phone all that much (noone ever rings me :( :P), but many people use their phones a lot, so hopefully this will be advertised before too much more damage is done.

At the same time, though, how many people are actually likely to stop using their mobile phones? Not very many, I would imagine. I mean, thinking about how mainstream they are and how many people rely on them. Still, at least then we can all do the I told you so dance.

How high is the absolute risk (5, Insightful)

mocm (141920) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044637)

A 240% increase sounds huge, but they never tell you what the original risk is. There is a difference between doubling a 10% risk or a 0.00001% risk.

Re:How high is the absolute risk (1)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044767)

Quite True.

Does anybody know this, and comparison between risk of tumour vs risk of accident (using mobile while driving)?

Nice guess, 1 in 10,000 about right. (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044824)

According to this site [oncologychannel.com] there's about 1 primary brain cancer case per 10,000 people in the US. The big four cancers dwarf that by an order of magnitude but it's considerable.

I will feel vindicated one day (2)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044639)

when all the shitty drivers that have pissed me off so much get tumors... no, i'll just feel bad for them - yet again. =/

Um. (1)

zanglang (917799) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044640)

I know this is somewhat offtopic, but why on earth are Slashdotters still tagging proper articles like these with stuff like 'ponies' and 'gay'? Sober up man, it's April 2nd already! (At least on my side of the globe)

Re:Um. (2, Interesting)

dhoonlee (758528) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044757)

this clearly identifies a weakness in the tagging system

mibile phone health risks (3, Interesting)

Techojoe (704378) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044653)

While it has been suspected for some time that cell phones may cause tumors there has been considerable debate over the subject. Telcos and phone makers taking the anti health risk stance for obvious reasons.The phone companies have put large sums of money into reaserch to tell them and us that the phones themselves are harmless. It looks now as if an independant? researcher has added to the body of evidence that there is in fact a real risk. To temper that however it appears you have to be a pretty heavy user to be at risk. Interestingly the mobil phone towers them selves seem to escape the scruting that the handsets have been subjected to.

This sounds like Cigarettes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044709)

In other news, the Mobile Institute, which is funded by Big Telco has determined that handsets are not harmful to your health. Sprint is set to announce the first CDMA-Lite handsets, which use half the radiation, but provide a less satisfying experience.

Is it just me? Or does this whole thing sound like tobacco?

Re:This sounds like Cigarettes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044722)

You won't find too many biologists who will tell you that tobacco smoke from cigarettes isn't harmful. Or many chemists (of course, physicists don't have much to say about this! Too macroscopic).

With regard to cell phones, the biologists are split, and most physicists are certain that they are not harmful (at least not as a direct cause - perhaps there is some secondary biological effect that is harmful).

Re:mibile phone health risks (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044728)

The phone companies have put large sums of money into reaserch to tell them and us that the phones themselves are harmless.

No, "the phone companies" are spread across both ends of the issue. The telcos without cell-phone interests would much rather show cell phones to be dangerous.

Neither fact should, in any way, lead anyone to jump to the opposite conclusion.

It looks now as if an independant? researcher has added to the body of evidence that there is in fact a real risk.

No. Correlation != Causation.

You can find study after study that quite simply reaches an incorrect conclusion. You have to have a study that controls all variables to reach any kind of useful conclusion, otherwise, it's just barely above the level of old wives' tales.

In this case, it could very, very easily be the case that people who spend the most time on the cellphone have some other traits in common, such as genetics, longer-than-average exposure to the sun, riskier behaviors, less healthy diets, etc., which are the ACTUAL contributing factors, and cellphone usage happens to be completely irrelevant.

Truthfully, the claim that cellphones cause cancer is about at the same level as flying saucers, and exceptional evidence (with NO possible alternative interpretions) is needed to show there is an actual link. Because, after 100 years of megawatt electrical lines and high power transmissions all around us, nobody has thus far found any solid evidence of any harmful effects, so it's very difficult to believe low-power devices, such as cell-phones are having vastly more effect than the rest of the constant, 24 hour electrical bombardment. These same scare stories were popular with microwaves for many years, with no real scientific basis, until they finally went away, presumably with the nutjobs switching their attention to crop circles and cell phones.

Interestingly the mobil phone towers them selves seem to escape the scruting that the handsets have been subjected to.

Well, if you would have read the first dammed sentence of the article, you would have seen the mention of cell towers. Where, then, you get the idea they are escaping scrutiny, is beyond me.

However, there is very good reason people aren't remotely as concerned with cell towers. They send out a tiny fraction as much power as other communications, such as TV and radio broadcasts. You'll have a hard time scamming otherwise rational people into believing one lower-power tower is more dangerous than a higher-power transmission tower. But, apparently there's been enough luck with cellphones, since they're so near your face, that otherwise rational people are willing to listen, just like they did for Y2K, UFOs, The Bermuda Triangle, The Lost City of Atlantis, etc.

Heh. Stupid study. (1)

flynns (639641) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044656)

I work for cell phones, so I'm really getting a kick out of some of these replies...


Er, wait, wrong website.


Seriously, though. I sell cell phones. The study alleges that heavy cell phone use results in a 240% increase in brain tumors on the cell-phone side. Firstly, I don't know about the rest of you guys, but I use my cell on both sides of my head.

Secondly, they define "heavy usage" as "one hour per workday", or 60 minutes a day. Assuming they don't touch their cell phones during weekends, or after work, that comes out to 1320 minutes. A month. Dear god. I think perhaps 2-5% of the people I sell phones to get plans that would accomodate that.

But let's assume they use it for an average of 1.2 hours per day, to account for weekend and after-work usage. 36 hours a month, or 2160 minutes PER MONTH. It's like saying, OMG SUN === CANCER!!!!!oneoneeleventy because laying out in the sun three hours a day increases your risk of skin cancer. Sure, maybe it does, but WHO DOES THAT?

/so glad april fool's pink is gone
//importing fark slashies.
///trend?

Re:Heh. Stupid study. (1)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044707)

You've got good reasons to be biased and you disagree. Not too surprising. It's fine that you have an opinion, but surely you can't expect anyone to take you too seriously unless you back up your argument with some verifiable facts. A study has been done, you probably haven't read it, and yet you're waving it away as FUD.

An increase from 1 person getting cancer to 2.4 people getting cancer is pretty serious. If the risk is linear, maybe 20% of your customers are doubling their chance of getting cancer with their usage, and maybe 50% of your customers are getting an extra 60% chance of cancer. That's still serious and something that people will want to know about.

Be careful what you tell your customers, because one day the mobile phone companies might be getting sued a bit like the cigarette companies were.

Re:Heh. Stupid study. (2, Insightful)

flynns (639641) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044761)

Some brief googling reveals very little about the study discussed in this article; the closest it comes to is a compilation of several different studies.
Link to the former-pdf, now HTML-ized Google cache of the study from the original site, in both Swedish and English: Here. [72.14.203.104]

Even a cursory look at the linked study will show that there have been many, many studies on the effects of RF on animals with conflicting, confusing, and uncertain results. Unfortunately, I'm not a scientist specializing in this field, so I really can't comment one way or the other on the validity of the tests.

It's difficult not to hand-wave this study away without some real, significant, reproduceable results.

An increase from 1 person to 2.4 people getting cancer is serious, if your sample size is 10 people. If your sample size is 10,000 people, or 50,000 people, the difference between 1 and 2.4 is statistical error. To really derive anything further, we'd have to go read the study.

The trouble with doing scientific studies on real, moving people is that it's exceptionally difficult to control external variables. For instance: GSM cell phones (Cingular, T-Mobile, a few minor regional carriers) have a total of four bands they operate on, 850, 900, 1800 and another band that escapes me. CDMA phones (Verizon, Sprint, etc) operate on others, and iDen (Nextel, Southern LINC, etc) phones operate on yet another. Each type varies in wavelength and power output, so it's a vast generalization to say "Cell phones are bad for your brains", because of the vast differences between the services, the cell phones, and the effects of different frequencies on different parts of your brain.

Random appeal to authority: I'm a ham radio operator, and they make us learn interesting things about what too much RF does to you. But at the frequencies we operate, site surveys start being required when you're pushing more than 50 watts at 146 MHz (for instance). 50 watts is something like 50-100 times the amount of power that cell phones push, but, again, at different frequencies, so I'm not really sure I said anything relevant there. It's just hard to tell.

By the time the studies start showing reproduceable evidence, I'll be out of college and far away from the wireless industry, hopefully reducing my chances of being sued ;)

Re:Heh. Stupid study. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044741)

Think of it this way: you work at a tobacco shop!

Re:Heh. Stupid study. (2, Insightful)

flynns (639641) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044769)

Potentially true! But, like the tobacconist, I don't hold a gun to anyone's head and make them buy a cell phone. If they wanna rot their brain / not, or rot their lungs / not, it's entirely up to them. I just profit. ;)

Re:Heh. Stupid study. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044833)

"You're right actually, I am pretty troubled and I am pretty confused and I'm afraid, really, really afraid... But I think you're the fucking anti-christ."

Re:Heh. Stupid study. (1)

flynns (639641) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044866)

Yeah, okay, I definitely missed something here. Cool movie, but... somehow I missed the connection here.

Re:Heh. Stupid study. (1)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044834)

Firstly, I don't know about the rest of you guys, but I use my cell on both sides of my head.

I don't, and I don't think most people do.

Re:Heh. Stupid study. (1)

flynns (639641) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044853)

Er. Well, not at the same time....

still not that bad (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044660)

Ars technica has a bit of commentary on this study. Apperently heavy cell phone use only doubles the normal 1 in 100,000 chance of developing this type of cancer. Not much to worry about.

Re:still not that bad (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044668)

whoops. I missed the ars technica link [arstechnica.com] . To repeat the interesting part (at least it was interesting to me), heavy cell phone use only doubles the normal 1 in 100,000 chance of developing this type of cancer. Not much to worry about.

Risk related to handset power? (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044674)

I have noticed that handsets in different countries have markedly different output power (judging by the influence they cause to other devices). For example, I have often seen TVs, computer monitors, music players and radios go berserk in the presense of a GSM phone in Europe, more or less regardless of the brand and the age of the thingy.

At the same time, I have never ever seen interference from a Japanese handset - and I have used over 40 of those - both my own on various projects.

So, with my tinfoil hat firmly on -- because this could very well be a late April 1st story -- could you all GSM users be slowly microwaving your brains?

Re:Risk related to handset power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044716)

Actually, this is one of those few times it may be worthwhile to actually wear your tinfoil hat!

Re:Risk related to handset power? (1)

LionOfMacedon (947932) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044802)

there is something called SAR(specific absorption ratio.it is a way to measure the amount of energy that is absorbed by the body when u use the cell.in ths us i think it should be less than 1.5Watts/KG and EU/asia require it to be less than 2Watts/KG.http://www.bemi.se/founder/clips/cellula rSAR.html [www.bemi.se] is a site which has some SAR values,google for sar values of other phones,thats the reason you find some phones disrupting electronics more than others.from what i know(IANA expert in this field),a bluetooth wireless should be good for you.if any experts can elaborate on the subject further,please do so.i am most curious about this topic,or at the very least,send me an email regarding this topic,if you have any good valid information on it.tnx.

It is new times (1)

Enselic (933809) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044680)

Since these kinds of studies requires a very long test period, the study obviously must have included very old cell phones.

Old cell phones was not manufactured with especially sophisticated radiation protection and power adapting features, so I think we should not take too seriously on the outcome of this study.

The first valueble results of a how hazardous cell phone radiation is will come several years after the mobile market has stabalized, which probably won't happend in a while.

we should start seeing cancer results soon (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044688)

It's getting on for 20 years since I got my first cell phone (1987). Judging by the capacity of the batteries and the short amount of time they lasted I reckon these old units used (and probably radiated) more power than modern devices.
Either way, it means that we should have about 20 years worth of usage history, so if there is firm evidence of cellphone related tumours, we should start seeing an increased incidence fairly soon.

This does assume that people who study these things are asking cancer victims about their cell phone habits, to get the base data in the first place.

Its simple really.. (1)

mOOzilla (962027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044700)

The difference between medicine and poison is the dose, same for this, its the concentration of them. We have known since WW2 that microwaves are DANGERIOUS (RADAR) and thermonuclear exposure (Microwave bursts).

Re:Its simple really.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044902)

You can't compare Radar frequencies with the mobile phones ones. The same with emitted power.

link to the actual study (PDF) (5, Informative)

nfarrell (127850) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044708)

I don't know why it's not linked to any any of the articles, but here's the scientific paper. If we're going to critique it, we might as well do it right:

http://www.arbetslivsinstitutet.se/pdf/060331MildH ardell_Article.pdf [arbetslivsinstitutet.se]

MOD PARENT UP! (1)

5plicer (886415) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044764)

parent should be +5 Informative IMO

We never learn (1)

mOOzilla (962027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044715)

We had the same problem with Cigarettes, we reaped in the money and made it fashionable and then it comes up and bites us. One would think we would learn from that experience but nooooo we are doing it all again this time with ringtones and wallpapers and so on.

Re:We never learn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044753)

The difference is that cigarettes have absolutely no redeeming social value. Cell phones at least can be used responsibly. Plus, the electromagnetic radiation from a cell phone (if that's what it is, and if that's what's causing cancer) emanates from your headphones, your graphing calculator, your TV, and your computer in much, much, much higher doses. Anything electrical will basically throw this stuff off.

That said, I don't feel the slightest bit sorry for people who get in car crashes while on their phone.

Re:We never learn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044863)

Yeah, but smoke 50 cigs in a day when you're not a heavy smoker and you'll cough blood. Smoke 20 a day for a year and compare your time running the 100m. It was always totally obvious that cigarettes are very bad for you.
Cellphones don't have any obvious symptoms (aside from being a noisy jackass sometimes), and given that some people have been heavy users for 25 years and aren't dying like flies, if they do cause any problems they're really subtle and highly delayed. And if something is going to possibly kill you in 50 years then it's really hard to prove that it does not to mention that at that level it's basically not a reason to avoid it once you hit 30...

A good reason to wear tinfoil.. (1)

nihilistcanada (698105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044734)

Can you Chemo me now?

owned one ... (1)

bored_engineer (951004) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044759)

I owned a cellular phone a few years ago, but have managed (through no few arguments with my wife, although she owns one of the buggers) to avoid owning another since my first. I got sick of them the first time that the office secretary ringed me up in class during Engineering Management and the professor (quite politely) informed me that the entire class was waiting on me to answer my telepone. (I was working as a mechanic to a small branch of an armored car company at the time.)

I was actually considering conceding to the pressure from the office and from my wife and obtaining another (of the damned things) when I rolled across this article. While I wouldn't let such a short-sighted study inform my own decisions, I might be able to gain another month or twelve from its' existence before I'm forced to concede and join the rest of the Left Coast of the United States. Thanks, I hope!


P.S. GAA, but I hate those damned things. My optimistic hope is the most people over-react and shut the damned things off. I was in line to pick up a prescription for my infant son yesterday and could barely stand the din of the two ARROGANT BASTARDS ahead of me, one of whom was reviling the leak of a confidential product. (My own sense of ethics prevents me telling anybody else that there might be a clinical trial startiing soon in the US of a new male birth control product. Unfortunately, I could'nt make out the name of this revolutionary product, only that is was a SECRET.)

Re:owned one ... (1)

ZoomieDood (778915) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044790)

It's probably the new gel they inject into the tube leading from the sperm sac. It's non dissolveable by normal body fluids, but then when/if you want to attempt to have kids, you inject a dissolving agent, and it flows out.

But really, I wonder if this won't be a problem with skanky, rotten, dead sperm cells collecting... shudder.... just thinking of it gives me the willies... and my willie the willies... :-)

no details, read the article instead (1)

drfireman (101623) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044770)

The article offers no details, so it's impossible to evaluate this work meaningfully. Based on the limited details provided, it would be really easy for anyone with even the least background in research or statistics to think up a zillion reasons to be skeptical. But research almost always sound simplistic and inept when it's subject to simplistic and inept reporting. This brief report reads like the confused ramblings of someone who's overheard a conversation in an elevator.

Fortunately, a kind Slashdot reader has posted a link to the article, and that clears up a lot of the mis-reporting. I took a brief look to check two things: what they did to avoid confounding due to other potential risk factors that might be correlated with cell phone use, and what the evidence is for increased risk on the side of phone use. It seems like they didn't do much to avoid confounding. If heavy cell phone users are also heavy drug users, technophiles, work in high-stress occupations, or whatever, it seems like it could confound the overall rates. It would be a little harder to cook up a story for the ipsi/contra difference. The evidence that the tumors are more likely on the ipsilateral side seems to be numerical, not statistical (they do the stats on one side and again on the other side, but they don't compare the two directly, unless I somehow missed it). It would be nice to know how reliable that difference is, since that seems to be the strongest link between the tumor rates and cell phone use. But that's just my first impression.

Re:no details, read the article instead (2, Funny)

flynns (639641) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044782)

oh god. my poor brain. make the numbers stop.

Studies like this are always a problem (-1, Flamebait)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044776)

The british study is automatically suspect. I don't think the country that gave us Mad Cow Disease can be trusted with anything scientific. Ever. Would be like asking a german about human rights.

Any study on bad effect of a popular product wich forms a billion dollar industry is going to be under a lot of pressure to find said product safe or at least to report that no absolute evidence could be found.

Note that so far no study has claimed that cellphones are safe. That is what the newspaper headlines claim but the studies themselves go no further than saying that they could not find direct evidence of any significant increased risk.

Watch "Yes Minister" episode "The greasy pole" for how it works.

For the subject off cellphone radiation and how bad it is, just remember that almost everything we do is bad for us. Even simple stuff like eating and drinking is killing us slowly. Hell even breathing is bad for you in the long term. The whole being alive thing is slowly killing you.

Now with that in mind how can holding a small mircowave to your head possibly be good for you?

It has been proven with lab tests that rats exposed to constant cellphone exposure DO develop tumors. So there is absolutly an effect.

Off course human beings are larger, we do not hold the phone to our heads 24/7 and we ain't rats.

And still, we have had all those studies that claimed that smoking was perfectly safe and that seatbelts cause more deaths and that BSE wasn't transmittable to humans etc etc etc.

Is the typical slashdot reaction that cellphones can't possibly cause braintumors not the same as all those smokers claiming that smoking couldn't be bad for you?

For me two things need to be done. A: a simple study as to just how bad cellphone and similar radiation is for a human. Pigs are similar to us. Strap a cellphone to their heads and test away.

B: then take that data and translate it to typical real world use. It might very well be that for normal use it means that in 100 years you have say a 1% increased chance to get a braintumor. Whoopie.

C: then translate these results to future developments. How bad is not just cellphone radiation but those bluetooth headsets, WI-FI, RFID and god knows what else we will have in the future.

D: then decide wether we are willing to give it all up or that we just accept the risk. Or perhaps that by the time the tumor develops cancer will be threatable.

I think the majority of people will judge it an acceptable risk. Well until they are dying of cancer of course and need somebody to sue. How many smokers do you know who are dying of lung cancer who say "Well I smoked them so now I deserve a slow painfull death"?

Re:Studies like this are always a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044808)

"Would be like asking a german about human rights."

Hehe. Or, apparently, asking americans about history. Newsflash, Hitler is gone for a couple of years now. You guys taught us very well about human rights - unfortunately you kind of forgot about that stuff over the last little while, because our constitution doesn't allow the benelovent dictator to declare anyone as "enemy combatant" and ship them off to destinations that are, unfortunately, run by small minorities of people who like to put plastic bags over peoples heads or have them bake for hours in the Cuban sun without a leak. Way to go.

Now, please go back, turn on Fox news, and get the latest scoop about what the current terror alert level is ... so you can appreciate all the show of force of your government and remember why you need them. Ah, wait, minor flaw ... since the election is over, the alert level has magically vanished out of the media, you will have to wait until the election heat is on again...

Re:Studies like this are always a problem (2, Insightful)

pete_m78 (777512) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044813)

The british study is automatically suspect. I don't think the country that gave us Mad Cow Disease can be trusted with anything scientific. Ever. Would be like asking a german about human rights.

Isn't that a bit like saying
The American study is automatically suspect. I don't think the country that gave us Intelligent Design can be trusted with anything scientific. Ever.

I'm not even going to touch the German/Human Rights issue. Europe doesn't have its own PATRIOT act or Guantanamo yet, you know.

Tagging comments (2, Informative)

saikatguha266 (688325) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044785)

Please use the !word to negate a tag.

While off-topic from the article perspective, I think this comment has some merit given that at the time of this comment, the tags for this article include 'gay', 'straight', 'bi'.

I suspect the 'straight' is to offset the 'gay' tag which appeared on all April 1 articles, and overflowed into April 2 articles. The system, I don't believe, knows that 'straight' is opposite of 'gay'. It does however know that '!gay' is opposite of 'gay', and will (likely) drop the tag that people vote against. Please use the '!word' tag to negate a word.

Just an FYI.

(don't mod me off-topic please. =] )

Re:Tagging comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044825)

+offtopic

Re:Tagging comments (1)

Aranth Brainfire (905606) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044827)

Heh, I like how, after this, now there are a bunch of "!gay" and "!straight" tags on some stories... good work, team.

Type of phone? (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044851)

I don't know if someone knows these flashing stickers [greenpearle.com] indicating an incoming phonecall? I've tried some, and they only work -with the phones I tried- at the back of the phone. The front (where you hold it against your head) doesn't seem to be giving off a signal strong enough to make the stickers flash.

So I suspect there is a difference in what type of cellphone (external antenna, generation of cellphone, brand...) which increases or decreases the amount of radiation taken.

Why only brain tumors? (1)

0xC2 (896799) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044857)

I can leave the phone in my pants pocket for hours. Why isn't it frying my testicles? C'mon I'm serious. :O

Re:Why only brain tumors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044896)

Lead stops radiation, and a cheap radiation preventer can be made by 40 or so lead pencils around the phone and some thick rubber bands. And you never run of of something to write with as a bonus.

Besides, with all that DU blowing in the winds, and the lead substitute in gasoline, phone cancers are the least of your worries.

I would imagine that they're more of a risk... (1)

Stephen Williams (23750) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044881)

...to those people who wander down the street staring into their mobile telephones rather than watching where they're going. I'd guess that the number of lamppost-related injuries is far greater than the number of cancer cases.

-Stephen

Swedish? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15044897)

Interesting though that the research was conducted in Sweden, the motherland of cell phone technology

Confirmation, confirmation, confirmation (1)

Dobeln (853794) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044925)

With all kinds of epidemiological studies, there is one thing that is important - multiple, independent confirmations. Why? Because the very methodology (correlation) used in epidemiological studies tends to produce incorrect results at a rate of about five percent (as this study, as most others, use 95 % confidence intervals - it's arbitrary, but they have to set the limit somewhere...) In addition to this, there are of course the usual mistakes, the whole issue of using controls (which is often messy, as there are often lots of complicated causation assumptions to be made), plus occationally outright fudging or fraud. (As in the recent high-profile Korean stem cell case)

All of this in turn guarantees that there will be a steady flow of spectacular, yet incorrect results, without anyone being incompetent or maliciously misleading. Thus, it's important to look at the consistency of results across studies. However, our beloved media rarely does this, as spectacular results make good copy and move newspapers. (Plus, journalists and statistics don't mix)

My point? One study should not a panic make. Or something like that.

Non-sensical (1)

paugq (443696) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044959)

That study is non-sensical!

They had people with cancer and they asked whether they were using/had been using a mobile phone. What a stupid question!. Pretty much everybody in Europe has a mobile phone since 2000: children (and I mean 7 y-o children!), adults and old people (>80 y-o). Mobile telephony has a penetration rate about 90% in Europe!

They may have asked if they were drinking *water* as well, and the conclusion of the study would have been exactly the same.
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